I just received a thoughtful review (below) of our No. 180 Harness Leather Tote and it got me thinking about where I was when I designed this tote, and how it has traveled with us on our journey at Artifact.
Product design makes me believe I'm doing something purposeful, not squandering my day basking in creative self-indulgence. I'm problem solving and making designs others will benefit from. Right? Much of my job requires listening. I absorb information in conversations and emails about how people evaluate and interact with my designs. It’s important and necessary.
One thing I’ve learned is a high percentage of people LOVE product features – at times with little regard for aesthetic. This is a challenge. Product design is artful but not without constraint. If you are not regularly creating designs people want to use, you will not have a business. If you try to design a product intended for everyone, it will never get past your sketchbook. Sometimes I have to hit the reset button. Designing the Harness Leather Tote was one of those times.
The harness leather tote is totally deconstructed and contains only quintessential elements. I used the finest leather and hardware that ripens with age. I prototyped dimensions until I landed on a silhouette that draws the eye when carried, hanging on a hook, or set on a table. At the time, nobody was asking me for this design - except the voice in my head.
The No. 180 Harness Leather tote has been a cornerstone in the Artifact line for several years now. It's been along for the ride while our studio evolved into a business where metrics are now used in conjunction with gut and instinct. Scale is achieved by identifying and eliminating inefficiency. Magic is achieved by selectively embracing inefficiency. Artifact lays somewhere in between.
To date, I hand cut and sew every Harness Leather Tote. It should have been delegated, and maybe someday it will be. For now, I feel immense pride when I see this tote in the wild on a subway platform in Brooklyn, or in a random airport terminal because I know I designed AND made that bag.
Let us know what you think of your Artifact product. Leave a review on our product pages and I promise I'll read it. Thanks!
Photography by Dana Damewood
No.180 Tan Harness Leather Tote with years of patina
No. 180 Bourbon Harness Leather Tote with years of patina